Mendoza School of Business

41 projects in 4 days – MBA Interterm provides experiential learning

Published: February 26, 2019 / Author: Carol Elliott



As spring break 2019 begins, students in the University of Notre Dame’s graduate business programs are using this down time to put their business acumen to work. More than 160 students at Notre Dame’s Mendoza College of Business will participate in Interterm, a one-credit course offered March 4-7 that engages students to work directly with organizational partners on a real-world challenge.

man carrying a stack of orange buckets from a Puerto Rico Home Depot

MBA students traveled to Puerto Rico in fall 2018 to work on an Interterm project with Waves For Water. The team distributed water filter kits to people in areas affected by the previous year’s Hurricane Maria. (Photo by Matt Cashore/University of Notre Dame)

This year, students chose from among 41 projects that ranged broadly in topic and scope, from developing marketing strategies to identifying acquisition targets. A total of 34 companies and nonprofits across the country signed on as partners. The program worked with educational company CapSource to coordinate a number of the projects as well as Notre Dame alumni and other University groups.

One team will travel to Los Angeles to develop a marketing strategy for William Shatner’s Shatoetry, an app that allows users to submit words and phrases which the actor then performs as an audio clip. Another team will work with HUNGRY, a catering start-up in Washington, D.C., looking for help in creating strategies to enhance customer experience. A third team will assist Catholic Volunteer Network with an effort in Takoma Park, Maryland, to attract Generation Z and millennial volunteers.

The longstanding MBA Interterm program was completely revamped and relaunched in response to an extensive student sentiment survey that found students increasingly were interested in experiential learning opportunities rather than case studies.

“They wanted to engage in activities that tangibly built up their resume with demonstrated experiences working on real and timely business issues,” said Alice Obermiller, associate director for experiential learning in Graduate Business Programs. “We also learned that mapping experiential learning activities that coincide with their mindset at the time of Interterm across the two years was important. Students, like most of us, have many competing priorities, so they want to engage in things purposefully and that serve them most at the time.”

The new Interterm model launched in fall 2018 with a focus on providing students with project opportunities that are real, timely and predominantly conducted on-site with the company. The course work also is themed to align with the MBA journey across the two years — Prepare, Immerse, Apply and Impact.

During their four-day field experience, students will do a deep-dive into the problem or opportunity through research and analysis, deliver recommendations and provide guidance on implementation strategies as well as metrics for measuring success. Impact, the last session, especially emphasizes students using their skills and experiences to serve a nonprofit or social enterprise as a capstone experience in keeping with the Mendoza mission for business to be a force for good.

Graduate business students also will be participating in 10-day international immersions March 4-13 in China, South America and, for the first time, South Africa. The international immersions provide students with business-related, service and cultural experiences to develop a better sense of global trends and socio-economic climates, as well as what it’s like to live and work in the various countries. The activities range from meeting with managers of multinational companies such as Coca-Cola, to touring culturally significant landmarks, to engaging with social entrepreneurship efforts.

For more information about the Notre Dame Graduate Business Programs, the Notre Dame MBA or Interterm, visit Mendoza.nd.edu.


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